Blog Archives

A birthday interview with Fletcher Prince creative director David Hyson

Happy Birthday,  David Hyson!  Today’s blog post is dedicated to him.  The Washington Business Journal publishes “Executive Profiles” each week, so I “borrowed” some of their interview questions to provide you with this revealing  look at Fletcher Prince’s funny, irreverent, and often enigmatic creative director…

Tell us about yourself, David.  Ever since I can remember, I have made things: art, sculpture, furniture, gardens, food, you name it! Also, I’ve always loved books. Good writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, has always been a passion. Even though my college training was in Industrial Design, I was attracted to graphic design because it is a hybrid of design and words. My first real job out of college was working on a magazine, but I moved quickly into marketing communications and advertising where I’ve been ever since.

Education?  Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Industrial Design, Rhode Island School of Design.

What was your first job?  Graphic Designer, National Recreation and Park Association.

Family?  Wife: Orion, son: Morgan, 24, and daughter: Emily, 21.  Two cats: Tako and Leo. We live in Bethesda, MD.

What’s the biggest misconception you deal with in your work?  What I do is always easy and fun.

What’s the one thing you wish everyone knew about your job?  To do it well requires time, effort. and experience, as well as talent.

What’s your next big goal?  Figuring out my next big goal.

What’s your biggest current challenge?  Acting my age.

What are you like to work for?  Impossible.

Best lesson from a mentor?  If you know you can do better, start over and do it better.

Best business decision?  Getting out of the agency environment and going freelance.

Hardest lesson learned?  In some businesses, bigger isn’t better.

Your most interesting project?  Designing a two-story exhibit for a trade show in Geneva, Switzerland.

Client you want to have?  A luxury hotel and resort company.

How do you recover from failure?  I get busy with a small creative project that has a predictable (and happy) outcome.

True Confessions….

Who would play you in a movie about you?  Johnny Depp.

Guilty pleasure?  Craft cocktails.

What is your greatest extravagance?  Getting married and having two children.

If I had $1 million, I would:  Retire to a small island in the Caribbean.

If you could trade places with a person for a day, who would it be?  Beck (the musician).

Personality in high school?  I’d rather forget.

 Favorite book?  A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich.

What would you do if not this?  Bartender at an upscale restaurant.

What is your favorite vacation spot?  Caribbean.

Favorite restaurant for business or pleasure?  The Capital Grille.

Favorite hobbies?  Woodworking, gardening, cooking.

Favorite movie?  Casablanca.

Favorite movie star?  Johnny Depp.

Favorite place outside of the office?  American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

One thing you cannot do without each day:  Coffee.

What do most people not know about you?  I can’t answer that.

Pet peeve?  Big SUVs.

What’s on your iPod?  Alabama Shakes, Miles Davis, Beethoven.

May Network-and-Lunch Report

Connie Rhind, David Hyson, Susan Rink, and Robert Udowitz

We had another fun monthly network-and-lunch event yesterday, this time at Pilin Thai in Falls Church, Virginia.

Attending were David Hyson, Mary Fletcher Jones, Susan Rink, Robert Udowitz, and Connie Rhind.  Heathere Evans-Keenan made a quick stop to say hello.

As usual, the conversation revolved around public relations and communications projects.  We discussed best practices for handling pro bono work, as well as the merits of wireless press release services. Susan was excited to introduce Connie Rhind to the independent practitioners group, IPRA.  Susan is doing some very interesting internal communications work for one of her clients, Wal-Mart.  Robert is launching a new blog for his company, RFP Associates, and gave us a quick preview of the art for the blog.  David shared about the 508 compliance design work he is doing for Deloitte and CSC, and explained how 508 compliance is becoming a requirement for certain federal government projects.

The setting was perfect for discussion and the meal was delicious and a real lunchtime bargain.  Fletcher Prince organizes monthly network-and-lunch events all over the Washington, DC area.  The next netw0rk-and-lunch event will take place at Spice Xing in Rockville, Maryland, on Tuesday, June 12.  Please register and join us!

April Network-and-Lunch Report – talking PR at Jaleo

Every month, Fletcher Prince organizes a networking lunch at a different location in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  We do this to connect with other communicators and talk “shop” and basically enjoy ourselves.  (But everyone is welcome — you certainly do not have to be a communicator to network with us.)

On April 24, we had our third Network-and-Lunch event, this time, at Jaleo in Bethedsa, Maryland.  David and I were joined by Leah Ibraheem and Connie Rhind Robey.

We were struck by the fact that we met through Twitter.  I had been following Leah’s blog for some time before I met her for the first time this spring.  This was my first meeting with Connie; she noticed my profile when I tweeted about the Smithsonian Craft Festival, and decided to sign up for the lunch (She handled public relations for the Festival this year.)

Although we had a smaller number of people this time, it was a delightful lunch, and we had some terrific conversation about fine craft works, public relations, social media, and working as independent consultants.  The hour and half flew by.

The lunch was reasonable and the decor of Jaleo was gorgeous.  For $12, we had the choice of sandwich and a half salad.  We sampled beet and orange salads, and a type of apple slaw with manchego cheese, along with lamb and Spanish grilled cheese sandwiches.

Be sure to join us on May 15 when we will meet at Thai Pilin in Falls Church.  The lunch special is $7.95 (in fact, I had it today!) and is really delicious.

Event Report: February Network-and-Lunch

Gumbo and PR networking at RT's restaurant in Alexandria

Our first network-and-lunch event on Mardi Gras Tuesday was lots of fun.  We enjoyed getting together for lunch at RT’s Restaurant in Alexandria with independent communicator buddies Vicki Robb, Heathere Evans-Keenan, David Hyson, Robert Udowitz, Susan Rink,  and Lorelei Harloe.

Did I mention the lunch was outstanding?  Susan and I both got the shrimp and grits special, Vicki and Robert opted for traditional gumbo, David had his favorite Oysters Nezpique, and Lorelei and Heathere were good and got salads 🙂

The first question was: is there an agenda for this lunch?  Do we have a topic?  And my answer was: no there is not.  Not for this lunch, or any of them.  The purpose of these monthly network-and-lunches is just to get together and get to know each better, and find out what everyone is doing. Everyone is there to share information and help each other.  If we hire each other, or connect each other to paying projects or speaking engagements, wonderful.  But first — the connection.

We need more of that, right?  I go to a lot of networking events, and I always end up feeling a little let down because it seems just as the conversation starts getting interesting, it’s time to listen to the speaker.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  But I think these lunches fill that networking need I was looking for.

Register now and join us in March and throughout 2012

These small group (8-10 people max) networking lunches are going to help us all get to know each other much better, and hopefully we’ll meet some new people, too.  So I’m hoping I will see my blog subscribers, Facebook friends, and Twitter followers at our monthly Fletcher Prince networking lunches.

Believe it or not (I sure was surprised) the October one is almost full already!  So go ahead and reserve your spot today — it doesn’t cost anything except the price of your lunch — and we’ll see you next time!

Looking Back at 2011 – The Fletcher Prince Annual Report

Fletcher Prince celebrates its fourth full year of success in business in a challenging economy.  2011 was a year of delivering marketing and public relations services to clients and contractors, punctuated with community involvement and recognition.

Here’s what we accomplished in 2011…

Client Work in 2011

Graphic design, website design, social media development, and media relations were big project areas for us this year.

David Hyson, Creative Director, Fletcher Prince

We worked with our existing clients Dominion Mechanical Dirigo, PRofessional Solutions, and Keenan PR.  We were also delighted to work with new clients H-D Systems, Reising Communications and Remey Communications.

As was true last year, David and I worked on many subcontracted projects in 2011.  We were  gratified to be brought on as consultants and partners on fixed fee and hourly projects for clients Rockville Science Center, International Parking Institute, CHS, GuideStar, Deloitte Touche, and CSC.  We would like to thank our colleagues for  hiring us to work in partnership with them, and welcome more subcontracting opportunities like this in 2012.

Community Involvement and Service

As a service to the Washington, DC area professional communications community, Fletcher Prince continues to produce videos for the YouTube seriesConversations in Public Relations,” featuring interviews with local communicators and association leaders.  We produced 11 additional videos in 2011.  The 110 videos have received more than 42,450 views on YouTube. Our guests this year included independent public relations practictioners Robert Udowitz, Amanda Miller Littlejohn, Vicki Robb, and Jeff Ghannam.

As a side project, Mary created a new “Living Well With Autism” website for parents in April for Autism Awareness Month.

David and I continued to support area communications groups with professional memberships in the Public Relations Society of America, DC Ad Club, and Washington Women in Public Relations.

Recognition, Engagement, and Fletcher Prince Marketing Efforts in 2011

Fletcher Prince Facebook Page “Likes” Increase 55%

We continue to be grateful to our supporters.  Our Facebook Page Likes increased from 76 to 118.  Most of our Facebook Page Likes (70%) are comprised of people we don’t know at all or don’t know very well, so our content must be drawing people to the Page.

Mary’s Twitter followers rose from 900 to 1160+, while we created a new, separate Twitter account for Fletcher Prince tweets this year, with 240+ followers.

Fletcher Prince in Top Ten On YouTube for PR and Advertising Firms

This year, we added 17 YouTube videos to our Fletcher Prince YouTube Channel.  We continue to produce informative videos highlighting our subject matter expertise.  We have more than 100 subscribers (42 coming on this year) and our Fletcher Prince YouTube videos have more than 62,000 views — 21,000 of those achieved this year.  This ranks Fletcher Prince in the top 10 for video views among public relations and advertising firms on YouTube  for our Fletcher Prince videos alone.

Important to note: 73% of our views result from YouTube recommending and featuring our videos (two separate actions), as well as from YouTube search, while only 1.3% of the traffic originates from our Fletcher Prince Channel.  I hope this illustrates the importance of using keywords in the title, tags, and descriptions of your organization’s YouTube videos.  Searchability really matters on YouTube.

Fletcher Prince Blog Views Increase 60%

The Fletcher Prince Blog is a big part of how we share our expertise and showcase our work, and our blog views increased by 62% in 2011.  In 2010, our blog got 11,691 views and this year our blog was viewed more than 19,000 times.  On average, we got 52 views a day in 2011; in 2010 we got 32 views a day.

We also learned that 66% of our blog traffic comes from search engines, 18% of our readers find us through Twitter, and 16% of our views are from Facebook.

Fletcher Prince Ranked in Top 25 Area Public Relations Firms, By Income

In December, we received the exciting news that Fletcher Prince was listed on the 25 Public Relations Agencies (ranked by 2010 metro-area public relations income) in the Washington Business Journal (December 9, 2011 issue), as well as in the Washington Business Journal Book of Lists.

We are thrilled!  Mary and David will be attending the Book of Lists Celebration on January 26, 2012, and look forward to seeing our friends and colleagues at recognition and networking events in 2012.

2011 Speaking Engagements

We were involved in a significant (for us) number of speaking engagements.  It was a team effort.  Although Mary did the presenting, David helped prepare and design the presentations.  They included

  • Marketing with YouTube to a group of consultants in February.
  • Getting Started with Social Media to UNCF Young Entrepreneurs in April and George Mason University Communications  in September.
  • How To Get More YouTube Views at the Digital East conference in September.
  • Effective Writing for Social Media at RHED Pixel in October (view those videos on our YouTube Channel).

Thank You for Making 2011 a Great Year!

As 2011 draws to a close, David and I would like to thank our clients for their business and look forward to working with them in the new Year.

Special thanks to our blog subscribers, Facebook friends, and colleagues for their support in the past year.  David and I look forward to bringing you more original content on creative and affordable marketing strategies.

Happy New Year!

Photo idea for your website or blog: cherry blossoms!

Mary Fletcher Jones, Cherry Blossoms (photo by David Hyson)

I help clients put together websites, Facebook Pages, and blogs, and the number one problem I encounter is that they do not have enough good, recent photographs of themselves.

I need my clients to be a bit more vain! 🙂

For my DC area clients, I do encourage them to have their picture taken (by friends or family) near DC landmarks, when they visit them.  These pictures can be great!

Today is the day to ask your friend or spouse to take a photo of you next to the cherry blossoms.  It can be a lovely addition to your photography collection, and can help reinforce your brand as a DC-based company.  The next few days will be snowy or rainy, so although it will be crowded, today is the day to get out there and get those shots.

If you get the right shot, you can use it on your website or blog. What says DC like cherry blossoms?  The Tidal Basin is great for photos, but there’s a nice grove near the Washington Monument, close to Constitution, and even some great photo ops in Bethesda, Maryland (Kenwood Country Club) and Alexandria, Virginia (near Clydes, Mark Center), among other places in the DC metro area.

Here are some tips for getting a great shot with the cherry blossoms…

Mary Fletcher Jones with Cherry Blossoms (photo by David Hyson)

Dress the part, and keep it natural and informal. It’s going to be chilly but for your photo, you can doff your jacket or coat quickly.  If you’re carrying a purse or anything, put that to the side, with your coat.  Wear a simple shirt or blouse in a solid color for the best results.  Try cherry-blossom complimentary colors like soft green, aqua, rose, or soft blue.  Even white can work, if that works with your coloring.

Frame or crop for a head and shoulders shot, with cherry blossoms in the background.  It can be harder to get monuments in the shot, too, but if you can do it, go for it!

Mary Fletcher Jones with cherry blossoms, Tidal Basin (photo by David Hyson)

Take lots of pictures! Have some fun with it. Don’t be afraid of close-ups (that’s what Photoshop is for).

Don’t pick the cherry blossoms, or even hold a fallen cherry blossom in your hand in the photo.  Picking the cherry blossoms is illegal, and you don’t want to convey that you might have done something illegal!  You can hold your hand lightly on a branch, if that is the look you are going for.

When smiling for the camera, relax and think of something wonderful so you will also smile with your eyes. A modeling tip: if you are displaying a toothy smile, put the tip of your tongue lightly against the back of your top teeth.  I don’t know why this works, but it does!  Try some different head positions, like slightly cocking it to one side, or 3/4 views.

If you are an older person (older than 35) don’t let your photographer friend shoot “up,” for example, if they are shorter than you, or downhill from you. Have them shoot from a slightly raised position, or angle the camera down.  These angles will be more flattering.  Or you can shoot from a straight angle, or from the side.  Just don’t let  someone aim the camera lens from below your chin.

Return the favor. Everyone wants photos of themselves by the cherry blossoms.  Take photos of your friend, and of tourists who ask.

Most importantly: post those photos online! Tweet them, put them on your Facebook Page, blog, and website.  Be sure to alt-tag them and/or caption them with your name.

All photos by David Hyson.

Happy Halloween (Fletcher Prince video)

David and I were experimenting with shooting some video with his new Canon DSLR and we decided to record a quick Halloween video — we shot this 30 second video in my front yard.

Good depth of field with a DSLR (that’s when the background looks blurry but the subject is in focus).  Pretty awesome sound, too, with the hand-held mic, considering cars kept going by!  Since we were outside, to get some flattering light on me, we used a silver reflector for a little more fill, and then I played around with the tint in post production.

We’ll try using the DSLR in some more upcoming videos.

I cracked up because I kept saying “Fretcher Plince.”

Fletcher Prince 2009 Annual Report

David Hyson and Mary Fletcher Jones of Fletcher Prince

As 2009 draws to a close, I would like to report on the activities of our small marketing communications company, Fletcher Prince.  Fletcher Prince, as you may know, is managed by David Hyson and Mary Fletcher Jones, and provides creative and affordable marketing solutions to small businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and beyond.  Our services include website design, graphic design, photography, video, social media and marketing consultation, public relations, and email marketing.

Fletcher Prince Client Work in 2009

Rink Strategic Communications. Fletcher Prince produced an online video series and podcast for Rink Strategic Communications.  Working with Susan Rink, we also helped her launch her company blog, email newsletter, Facebook Page, YouTube channel, and Twitter account.  It has been a pleasure working with Susan, and we look forward to producing six more videos with her in 2010.

PrimeTime Staffing. Fletcher Prince produced a corporate marketing kit for their existing client, Doris McGhee of PrimeTime Staffing, including a custom-designed pocket folder and inserts.

Fall Properties. Fletcher Prince was retained by the residential real estate firm Fall Properties to deliver social media marketing consultation and email marketing training, an effort that will continue into 2010.

Fletcher Prince Pro Bono Work in 2009

Fletcher Prince completed numerous pro bono projects on behalf of communications organizations.

Social Media for PRSA-NCC. For the first half of 2009, Mary served as Marketing and Public Relations Committee Co-Chair for the National Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, coordinating the chapter’s social media efforts.  She also created a social media policy for the chapter.  Fletcher Prince re-designed the chapter’s Twitter account to be brand-identifiable, and designed and launched a blog for the chapter.  Mary continues to moderate the blog and train chapter staff on how to write blog posts.  In addition to the blog design, David designed a social media-friendly version of the chapter logo for use on the chapter’s accounts on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and WordPress.  Mary was commissioned by the chapter to produce a video featuring several chapter and board committee members on the value of public relations, a pro bono project. The video was shown at the chapter’s Thoth Awards gala and at the PRSA conference in San Diego, CA.

Meeting Coordination for DC Podcasters Alliance. Mary served as Assistant Organizer for the DC Podcasters Alliance through June, and planned meetings and made presentations on topics related to podcasting.

Conversations in Public Relations Blog and YouTube Videos. As a service to the Washington, DC area professional communications community, Fletcher Prince produced an online video series and podcast, “Conversations in Public Relations,” featuring interviews with local communicators and association leaders.  We produced more than 80 videos on a variety of public relations and advertising topics.

World Water Center YouTube Channel and Videos. Fletcher Prince produced five videos and designed a YouTube channel, pro bono, for the World Water Center, a nonprofit organization.

Fletcher Prince Promotional Efforts in 2009

Our promotional work for our company involves presenting informative content about creative and affordable marketing strategies.

Fletcher Prince YouTube Videos. This year, we produced six informative, how-to YouTube videos that describe various ways of using social media to promote and market a small business or nonprofit organization, including blogging, Twitter, online video, online press rooms, and other topics.

Fletcher Prince Blog. We moved our blog from the WordPress.org platform to the WordPress.com platform.  We lost a couple of years of posts, but the change was worthwhile for the SEO benefits.  We blogged three times a week, on average.

Examiner.com Mary has been writing as the DC Social Media Examiner and the DC Marketing and Public Relations Examiner this year, covering industry-related events and news.

In other 2009 Fletcher Prince news…

  • Mary and David received 18 LinkedIn recommendations for their work in 2009.
  • Mary was interviewed by Paul Vogelzang and Limor Schafman for Capitol Communicator’s video series featuring local thought leaders in communications.
  • David was retained by Deloitte Touche and Florida Education Association to provide graphic design services.
  • Fletcher Prince was registered in the Federal Government contract services system.

Thanks for reading.  Please contact us if we can help you with marketing projects in 2010!

A happy Fletcher Prince client – Susan Rink

In this one-minute video, Susan Rink of Rink Strategic Communications explains why she enjoys working with the professionals of Fletcher Prince on her social media projects.

About Branding

You’ve decided to try your luck at starting up your own business. There’s many things to consider in such an endeavor, from choosing employees to researching competitors, to applying marketing strategies for your business. When it comes to marketing your company, the single most important thing to remember is branding. Creating a branding identity can help your company stand apart from all the rest, which will result in more business. A branding identity system consists of a mark or distinctive name of your company, a logo, specific colors, specific typefaces, and sometimes a tagline or slogan.

So in the business world, how do you create a branding identity that makes sense, and works well with your company? There are a few questions to ask yourself about your company before you can create an identity. What is your mission? What words describe your business? Who is your target audience? What existing marks or brands (of other companies in your industry or another) do you find appealing, and why? These questions will begin to help you understand which style of identities are for you. Take into consideration your competition as well; look at their logos, company names and colors and make sure the branding tools you choose can compete. Overall, the branding game is tricky. Specialists in the Marketing, Communications, Advertising and especially the Graphic Design fields will help your search tremendously.

A company with a consistent brand looks professional and on the right track. Investing in a branding system will pay off – just look at successful companies with successful brands for proof: Nike, Starbucks, Apple, and PBS just to name a few. These are companies who have committed to an identity and are winning the branding game.

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